Just started to watch the latest American Ninja Warrior Show and I am amazed at how over the years the course has gotten more difficult but the level of athlete competing is getting better and better. I can see (guess) that this is in direct correlation to prize money and fame. In the early years it was mostly just rock climbers and Parkour hobbyist that but as the prize money has become more substantial the athletes have became better and better.
The money is getting to the point that many are able to train full time and listening to the announcers speak many of the contestants have started their own training schools to train young athletes to prepare for the show. I have no problem with this. In fact I think that is the way a free market economy should work. It is great to live in a place where you can make enough money doing what you like to be able to do what you like. I know that sounds redundant but if you read it again you will see what the point is. We can make enough money in our hobby to support our hobby. Really why do we need anything more then that.
I do BJJ and I see a similar kind of professional. They start an academy and they get several students and end up making enough money so that they can continue to do Jiu Jitsu. To be honest it does not really pay to try and become really really good at it because even though you might be able to win some big tournaments and get a bunch of followers on Instagram or Facebook you really are not able to pay the bills with those followers. Banks don't really care how many followers you have when they give you a loan for a house or car etc.
There are a lot of people in the Jiujitsu Community who are trying to get the winners to get paid and if they ever get to the kind of payouts or incentives as American Ninja Warrior has then you will see the athleticism increase. Right now most of the ones who want to make big bucks are heading to the UFC and trying to make their big bucks while they are young. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.